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Why Modular is Perfect for Multi-Phase Builds

Phase 1 and Phase 2 Drawings

By their very nature, modular systems are easily separated and reassembled. This makes expansion and multi-phase builds easy - much easier than with traditional, field-built systems. That’s a major advantage to consider when building a new central plant. Especially if you’re planning for future growth of your operations. Building in multiple phases can help manage and reduce cost since you aren’t paying for components you don’t yet need and the additional costs of operating a larger system than required.

Modular systems can be custom designed to fit specific job requirements. There’s no sacrificing quality or efficiencies. When expansion plans are included in the initial design of a modular central plant, you ensure the most efficient, highest quality system at every phase of your system’s build-out. You have the opportunity for complete system analysis and can thoroughly plan and design each phase of the system for optimization and efficiency. Since all phases are designed and built by the same company, construction standards and component quality are consistent throughout.  

Modular systems are factory-built. Building offsite limits downtime and disruptions to your facility’s operations. It allows the existing plant to continue operating throughout the construction process. You get to plan a schedule – no worries about issues dues to local construction labor shortages or weather delays. Limiting the amount of construction at your site also greatly reduces safety risks and liabilities.

Factory building also allows for factory testing. Each system phase can be tested to ensure the expected performance before delivery. Any issues can be addressed before the system leaves the factory, making each expansion phase is as seamless as possible with a quick installation and start-up process.

Drawing of Phase 1 & 2 combined

For Example

We recently completed an outdoor chiller plant, the second phase of a modular packaged central plant designed for multiple expansion phases (as shown in the drawings).

 Component Consistency:

  • Trane Water-Cooled, Centrifugal, Variable Speed Chillers
  • Evapco Cooling Towers
  • Alfa Laval Plate & Frame Heat Exchangers
  • Armstrong Chilled Water Pumps
  • ABB VFDs
  • Systecon Inc. controls with Systecon chiller sequencing

Phase 1 included two chillers, cooling towers, heat exchangers and chilled water pumps.
Phase 2 added a third chiller, cooling tower, heat exchanger and chilled water pump.
Future phases can add a fourth and fifth.
Future build out allows for N+1

The plant is in New Hampshire, so the enclosures for all phases must meet requirements specific to the location - 100 mph wind load and a minimum snow load of 60 pounds/square foot.

In addition to design and assembly, Systecon Inc. also supervised the rigging, reassembly, start-up and commissioning of the chiller plant, providing another level of consistency throughout the phases.

Systecon performed pump flow testing of the chilled/condenser water pumping systems, witnessed at the factory, with certified Wire-to-Water Efficiency report provided.

Drawing of all phases

Chilled Water System Data
Total Chilled Water System Flow
     Phase 1: 3,600 GPM
     Phase 1 & 2: 5,400 GPM
     Future: 7,200 GPM
Total Chilled Water System Capacity
     Phase 1: 2,000 Tons
     Phase 1 & 2: 3,000 Tons
     Future: 4,000 Tons

Cooling Tower Water System Data
Total Cooling Tower Water System Flow
     Phase 1: 6,000 GPM
     Phase 1 & 2: 9,000 GPM
     Future:12,000 GPM
Total Cooling Tower Water System Capacity
     Phase 1: 2,000 Tons
     Phase 1 & 2: 3,000 Tons
     Future: 5,000 Tons

Grow with Modular

Modular central plants have many benefits - customization, optimization, cost savings, time savings, etc. - and that doesn’t change when they’re built in multiple phases.  When you need a high-quality central plant that can serve the existing load and easily expand to accommodate future growth, modular is the perfect option.

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